How to deal with parking disputes if you’re living in a strata managed property
A mistake you don’t want to make is getting on your neighbour’s bad side. At StrataFAQ.com.au one of the most common problems we get asked about is parking.
While it may be tempting to write an angry note when someone has parked you in, taken your parking spot or blocked access to common property, there are more reasonable ways of dealing with it. As laws vary in every state, here’s what you need to know:
New South Wales
The reality is most residential buildings located close to the city don’t provide enough parking for its residents and their visitors. If someone has breached by-laws by parking illegally, it’s important to resolve the matter as soon as possible to avoid encouraging bad behaviour.
The first step would be addressing the situation with the vehicle owner (if they can be identified). They could be new to apartment living and unfamiliar with the building’s by-laws. But if the resident or visitor refuses to comply, the strata manager can be contacted.
The strata manager will be able to address concerns with the owners corporation who may decide to take action. In New South Wales, the owners corporation has the power to serve breach of by-law notices.
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal can order the person to pay a penalty up to $1,100 dollars and if it happens again within 12 months the penalty can be doubled.
Vehicles that block the use of common property can also be removed with authorisation by the owners corporation. It would require a notice to be placed on or near the vehicle and if the vehicle hasn’t been moved for five days or more, it can be towed to another area of the common property or at a place where it can be lawfully removed.
The owners corporation has the option of having costs covered by applying to the Tribunal.
Another way strata properties can manage parking is by handing powers over to local council for a fee. Council rangers will have the ability to issue parking infringement notices to residents who’ve parked illegally.
Some strata managed properties may also allow residents to apply for a common property rights by-law, which would allow them to park on common property legally.
Your local police branch can be contacted if a vehicle is parked on the road and blocking a driveway. An officer may be able to contact the vehicle owner and instruct them to move the vehicle.
If someone has parked illegally on common property you could contact the police who may be able to request the vehicle’s removal. However, the police do not have the power to tow a vehicle.
If a vehicle owner breaches the Owners Corporations Act 2006 or the Owners Corporations Regulations 2018, the matter can be escalated to the owners corporation. There are three alternatives the owners corporation can explore including internal dispute resolution, taking the matter to Consumer Affairs Victoria or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
If the body corporate believes a resident is breaching by-laws, it’s best to try and solve the problem by having a neighbourly conversation. This is classified by the commissioner’s office as self resolution.
However, if the parking dispute remains unresolved you may want to explore conciliation, which is the first step in dispute resolution. Conciliation involves a meeting between the two parties and a conciliator.
A last resort would be adjudication but this process can only be put into motion if The Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997 is in breach. The adjudicator’s role is to assess the application and submissions before making a decision. The Magistrates Court can enforce the adjudicator’s orders and can impose fines up to $53,380 dollars.
Otherwise, there’s also the option of electing the local council to manage parking. This would mean local council rangers would have powers to issue fines.
If you would like more information relating to a specific situation, feel free to submit a question on www.stratafaq.com.au or for strata industry updates you can subscribe to our newsletter https://picagroup.com.au/subscribe-to-pica-group-today/.